Freo's View



The City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle have started secret negotiations about a possible amalgamation of the two local councils.

East Fremantle residents rejected the proposed amalgamation during the Colin Barnett government local government reform process, which failed.

East Freo residents only succeeded stopping the merger because people in favour of it also voted, and hence they reached the required 50% of eligible voters minimum. Had pro amalgamation people not voted the merger would have gone ahead.

I hear that East Freo Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail, who was pro merger from the beginning, initiated the secret talks.

This is very interesting news and would make a lot of sense in my opinion, so let’s hope both councils can agree on the details.

It is timely also to receive a media release from the City of Fremantle today that Fremantle will create its own time zone and introduce daylight saving time next summer

Mayor Brad Pettitt said

Fremantle changing the time within its municipal boundaries to daylight savings time will reduce the time difference to two hours and give our businesses a competitive advantage compared to their counterparts around WA.”

 Mayor Pettitt acknowledged the decision may generate some controversy as people will need to adjust to Freo Time as they come and go. But he was confident the benefits would far outweigh any potential inconvenience.

 Residents and visitors alike will have longer evenings to enjoy our great beaches, café and bars,” he said.

 Digital screens will display Freo Time on all major entry points into Fremantle while the City’s parking officers will also assist people to adjust their watches. Clocks displayed in public places will be adjusted to Freo Time.

Bob Dylan was right many decades ago that the times they are changing.

Roel Loopers




March 31. Bridal Trial East Freo


East Fremantle wedding venues are emulating the Fremantle Wedding Walk with the Bridal Trail tomorrow, Sunday March 31, so go and check out some of the venues, have a meal or a drink and support the local businesses.

Roel Loopers




The Town of East Fremantle has published a draft vision report for the East Fremantle Oval Precinct Revitalisation Project.

See it all here:



The precinct should be revitalised

A community and sporting space that is open to all

An inter-generational, inter-connected open space

A sporting precinct – with or without WAFL games

Preference to retain the entire precinct as a Class A Reserve

Affordable and equitable revitalisation with multiple funding options

Improve physical and visual accessibility into the precinct

Create shared facilities that meet the needs of clubs and community

Preference to retain the social heritage of existing clubs

Maximise use of existing areas, and better utilise underused space


There are two vision concepts with Vision Concept 1 Opening The Park, which supports to retain the current functional arrangements on site with the least/minimal intervention and extensive landscaping.

Vision Concept 2 Community Hub, supports the oval as a community hub in the heart of the precinct, surrounded by parklands which maximise connectivity, and visual aesthetic to all boundaries.

East Fremantle Council has stated it prefers the East Fremantle Football Club to stay at the oval and not as was flagged move to  Fremantle Oval and share facilities and playing ground with the South Fremantle Football Club.

Roel Loopers





g 6


About one hundred people, including Labor politicians Josh Wilson MP and Lisa O’Malley MLA, turned up at East Fremantle’s Locke Park on Saturday morning to attend the protest by the Friends of the Royal George agains the planned 20 storey high-rise at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

Only East Freo artist Tony Jones questioned where the Friends of the Royal George had been during the last 20 years when the building was neglected, and that is probably a fair question.

It was a disappointingly lacklustre event though with no speeches or formal gathering, and when I asked one of the display and petition table attendants if we could get a group shot he replied that it was too difficult to get the small crowd together.

Many people just trundled off after a while as nothing was happening, so I suggest the East Freo “Friends” get some coaching from Fremantle groups on how to organise a proper protest rally.

Roel Loopers





East Fremantle residents and heritage supporters will be holding a protest tomorrow against the proposed development by Saracen Properties of a 19 storey high-rise building at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

The protest gathering will be this Saturday at 10.30 am at Locke Park on the corner of Fletcher and Moss streets, north of East Fremantle Oval.

East Fremantle Council approved a scheme amendment of a maximum of six storeys, but that has been rejected by the WA Planning Commission, which wants changes made to the amendment, and East Freo locals fear they might end up with the huge high-rise they strongly petitioned against.

Roel Loopers





East Fremantle residents against the proposed development by Saracen Properties of an 19 storey highrise building behind the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street have lobbied the State Government by presenting an 1,800 signatures strong petition to the Member of Fremantle Simone McGurk.

East Fremantle Council has rejected the proposal, as the scheme amendment for the area only allows for buildings up to six storeys high, but now the State’s South West Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP will consider the development proposal.

Roel Loopers




The news that The Friends of Royal George community group has been established in East Fremantle makes sense as it is always important for state government agencies to be aware of the feelings in the community, even when East Fremantle Council’s Royal George scheme amendment only allows for six storey buildings in the area.

Saracen Properties wants to build a slim 15 storey tower on top of a four storey podium, but it is unlikely JDAP or SAT would approve that under the present local scheme.

People point out that a state agency approved 16 storeys on the former Subiaco market site, but that is very different from the East Freo proposal. The Subi site is only metres away from the train station and bus transport and that does not apply to the East Fremantle location that is miles away from the Fremantle railway station and not that close to other forms of public transport either.

While I personally quite like the elegant tall spike designed by Michael Patroni’s spaceagency and do believe a landmark highrise would be appropriate in that location, I also believe that the 19 storey proposal does not adequately address the urban infill requirements of the state government.

When we impose very high buildings on a low rise community the main purpose of the development should be to create many new homes for many people, and not as is the case at the Royal George a mere 40 apartments for a few selected well off on 15 floors.

I am not sure if Saracen Properties will present their proposal to JDAP or come up with a much lower building. The architects told me some weeks ago that they are still looking at it on the computer.

Roel Loopers






The future of the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle is in jeopardy after the East Fremantle Council on Wednesday approved a scheme amendment that will only allow six storey buildings in the precinct, without discretionary additional height.

Saracen properties have proposed to refurbish the beautiful old building but to make that financially lucrative for the developers they wanted a 21-storey slim tower on the vacant site behind the hotel.

It is highly unlikely that Saracen will now continue with their proposal, but abandon it, which will severely bring into doubt the future of the Royal George, that has been vacant and derelict for far too many years.

It would be a real shame if a compromise can’t be found, but the new scheme amendment does not allow for much give and take.

Roel Loopers



Royal George 2


It will be an interesting Planning Committee session at the Town of East Fremantle tonight, with Council debating a Scheme Amendment for the historic Royal George Hotel site at Duke Street.

Saracen Properties have proposed a 21-storey building behind the heritage listed building, but that has received huge community criticism, as was to be expected.

There is not yet a planning proposal by Saracen at the Town of East Fremantle and the final decision authority is the WA JDAP, but the proposed Scheme Amendment to be discussed this evening is to only allow a seven-storey building that does not exceed 36 metres on the vacant part behind the former hotel.

Several public submissions even argued against a seven-storey building and want only 3-4 storeys behind the heritage building

Saracen made it clear during community consultation that they can’t spend millions of dollars on refurbishing the old Royal George unless they get considerable height allowance. A much lower building is not financially viable according to the proponents.

It is known that JDAP and SAT do overrule local government decisions, so even if Council tonight decide to approve the proposed Scheme Amendment Saracen might still put forward the 21-storey building at JDAP.

It would be an utter shame if nothing would happen again and if the Royal George remained a vacant and derelict eyesore for another ten years.

Roel Loopers






I received these artist’s impressions of the proposed new slim tower behind the Royal George hotel in East Fremantle from developers Saracen Properties.

The developers plan to fully renovate the beautiful heritage listed Royal George for tourist accommodation, a gin distillery, bar, restaurants, etc.

They also want to build a 15 storey elliptical spike set on a four storey podium along Duke Street, and create a community square between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

The architect for the project is highly-regarded Michael Patroni of the Fremantle spaceagency.

Roel Loopers


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